Clown Shoes (the brand name for Mercury Brewing of Ipswich, Mass.) is one of the more interesting breweries out there right now. I’ve really enjoyed most of their beers. I review two below: one I really like and one that didn’t do it for me at all.
Vampire Slayer Imperial American Stout
Appearance: Like an ideal stout: almost black with ruby highlights, lovely sustained tan head with very tight bubbles, and a nice syrupy residue on the side of the glass.
Aroma: Malt is dominant with suggestions of tartness, burnt caramel, and a hint of cinnamon or cloves.
Mouthfeel: The highlight of this beer: the mouthfeel is perfect, extremely smooth, warm and an ideal illustration of the way a good stout can actually be light on the tongue in spite of its apparently “heavy” appearance. Slightly astringency at the back of the tongue.
Taste: Well balanced with creamy malt characteristics and sweetness offset by a nice bitter edge and a suggestion of citrus and spices.
Drinkability: While I’m not always a fan of imperial styles (which tend to be overly dominated by alcohol), this is a well executed imperial stout that’s definitely worth a try.
Blaecorn Unidragon Russian Imperial Stout
Appearance: Very dark brown with hints of ruby, opaque with a creamy tan head. In other words, exactly what a Russian imperial stout should look like.
Aroma: Unfortunately the alcohol is so intense that other aromas are hard to pick up. There’s a hint of malt sweetness but that’s about it.
Mouthfeel:Rather syrupy for my taste and it burns a bit in the mouth, not smooth as it should be. The alcohol is quite noticeable, more so than should be the case, even for this style.
Taste: Overly sweet and intensely alcohol. Hard to pick out any specific flavors when the alcohol is so dominant. I did catch hints of burnt grains or chocolate but not very strong.
Drinkability: I won’t have this beer again. The malt backbone isn’t enough to overcome the intense alcohol volume.